Justice League #8
Written by Bryan Hitch
Art by Neil Edwards, Daniel Henriques and Tony Avina
Lettering by Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Published by DC Comics
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
We all know that Batman has all the wonderful toys, and here Bryan Hitch and his art team explore the possibility of something going very wrong and taking the lot of them over. The writer-turned-artist shows no signs of stopping his runaway freight train approach to momentum, rolling straight off a world-shaking epic and headfirst into an issue that never pauses for breath. It’s an almost perfect exemplar of the blockbuster approach to comic book storytelling.
When Cyborg is hijacked by a broadcast containing a viral code, it takes over the Watchtower systems and subsequently gets into the Batman’s myriad of tech. The latter seems to be the most serious impacted, at least until the Watchtower breaks orbit and starts plummeting towards the Earth. Meanwhile, the Justice League arrives to rapidly discover that Cyborg’s system issues are not simply limited to Terran electronic devices.
Hitch isn’t concerned with the nuance of the events, or the broader questions of what would happen if the Justice League’s tech ever turned against them. Instead, he is hellbent on crafting a story that barrels along with scant regard for smelling the roses, hurtling us from one exploding cave to an object burning up in the atmosphere. About the closest we get to anything resembling character development is a brief interlude featuring the family of the deceased Diane Palmer, as the children struggle to pick up the pieces. It doesn’t really matter at this stage, as Hitch delivers a magnificent story opener.
Neil Edwards’ fluid pencils match Hitch’s pace every inch of the way, especially the dynamic series of poses and shapes that Batman pulls as he goes flying through the air with explosions behind him. It’s a minor spoiler, but any issue where there’s art of a dinosaur adjacent to Alfred Pennyworth with a rocket launcher is going to elicit some fangasms. In the final two pages, Edwards, Henriques, and Avina work seamlessly together to bring an imaginative combination of shapes and color that signal an equivalent level of pace for the follow-up issue.
As the first issue in the “Outbreak” arc, Hitch and his art team have dropped the sequential art equivalent of a surround sound blast to the eardrums. There’s plenty of time for fleshing out the hows and whys, and focusing more on the characters tangential to the main story thrust, but for now we are more than content to see where the tracks of this locomotive lead us.